The Girl from Ipanema

Brazil is not only considered one of the five countries that receive sex tourism, but it is also one of the largest exporters of sex, transvestites mainly to the old continent. Associations and NGOs working with the LGBT (lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual) have no data on the number of transvestites and transsexuals in the country, since most live on the margins of society and there is no record in this regard. But some NGOs, Europeans working for the rights of sex workers suggest that, within the group of transvestites practicing prostitution in Europe, Brazil are the largest group in relation to other nationalities.

Most transvestites in Brazil are initiated into prostitution at a young age, between 14 and 15 years, when they are still children. Prematurely leave the school system, and family and social rejection makes entering a complicated circle of marginalization. They approach adult transvestites to know what to do to change their appearance, and fascinated by a false «glamour», take these as their referents and counselors. Some of these transvestites are known as «cafetiñas» who control much of the prostitution business in Brazil. Mainly they are veterans transvestites who run one or more homes where house the transvestite prostitutes in the street, they charge what is called a «daily», an amount per day per room. Other «cafetinas» have no direct relation to the control of prostitution, but they live in some way of the girls involved in prostitution in certain areas, where they provide shelter and food, including other types of services that the trans may need.